Hidden No More: New Discovery Tools Now Online
Posted on September 20, 2017
Home to the world’s most intact public collection of a major American artist, the Museum formally launched two new online discovery tools today. More than 2,200 works of art—approximately 470 paintings and 1,750 works on paper by Still—are now available in high-resolution reproductions at collection.clyffordstillmuseum.org. More than 1,900 objects from the Clyfford Still Archives are also now public for the first time in the Museum’s new research database at clyffordstillmuseum.org/database. The launch was first reported by the New York Times.
“This occasion is particularly momentous in light of the fact that Denver’s collection of Still’s work—one of the last great treasures of twentieth-century American art, donated directly from the estates of Clyfford and Patricia Still—was hidden from public and scholarly view for 60 years,” notes Dean Sobel, director. “Together with the recent exhibition of Still’s work to 675,000 people in London and Bilbao, these online discovery tools represent tremendous progress towards establishing Clyfford Still’s rightful place in art history.” The Museum estimates conservatively that roughly 18,000 hours of work were required to produce the Online Collection and Research Database that are now public.
Approximately 70% of the City and County of Denver’s collection of Still’s art is included in the Online Collection’s debut. More than 1,200 of the featured works have never been exhibited publicly. The Museum will eventually publish the entire City collection representing a full 95% of Still’s entire artistic output.
Through full-screen, deep-zoom capabilities, the Online Collection offers close examination of Still’s art at a scale that reveals detailed surfaces and clear evidence of his painterly gestures. It is also the first online art museum collection to include a slow-looking tool with every object, presenting a more intimate viewing experience than standard digital surrogates for in-person appreciation. Explorers can sort items by more than 30 subject fields as well as criteria including object type, materials, creation date, and creation location. Images can be viewed online and also downloaded for personal use and study.
Among many other items from the Clyfford Still Archives, the Research Database includes installation photography and ephemera from exhibitions throughout the artist’s career; personal photographs of Still’s homes, studios, and travels; portraits of the artist and his family; and more than 170 historical journal articles, news items, and other publications related to Clyfford Still with searchable full text. Users can view detailed work descriptions and cataloging information, export thumbnails, and construct persistent URLs linking back to items or searches. Already quite substantial, the Research Database currently includes just 17% of all objects in the Clyfford Still Archives. Completion of the archives’ processing is estimated to require another 20,000 hours of work.
The online collection has been developed in partnership with Cogapp, a UK/NYC digital publishing systems provider. Cogapp was a partner on for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s online collection, which features more than 340,000 works of art online, and MoMA.guide, among many other museum projects.